In arguably the most challenging race of the F1® calendar, the Lotus F1® Team did the Lotus name proud today in the 13th round of the Formula 1® World Championship. Under the twinkling lights of the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Singapore, and in one of the most unique races of the F1® calendar, former world champion Kimi Räikkönen and Lotus F1® Team driver Romain Grosjean put in gratifying performances, despite being hampered by what was rotten luck.
A road race, a night race, and a full 61 laps, the Singapore F1® round is a test. Suffering with a lower back injury Kimi had a poor qualifying result meaning he began the race in P13, whilst Romain Grosjean demonstrated a sterling performance beginning the race from P3. Despite losing a couple of places in the ensuing pack shuffle after lights out, Romain then looked promising as he settled into P6 for the first half of the race. However engine issues cut short the Frenchman’s fight when on lap 34 he was forced to retire, much to the team’s frustration.
Kimi however, continued his battle, and slowly edged up the field. Having made the most of the safety car deployment and then conserving his tyres to allow a two-stop strategy, Kimi valiantly battled his way to an impressive P3 finish.
Kimi remains in fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship on 149 points – now just 2 points behind Lewis Hamilton whilst Romain remains eighth on 57 points. The team remains in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship on 206 points.
Kimi Räikkönen. P3, E21-05: “It’s been a difficult weekend, so to finish on the podium is a good result. The car felt good and it could have been even better if I’d been able to do more work in practice, but even with a better qualifying performance I think third was the maximum we could achieve today. The problem with my back hasn’t been ideal, but it felt much better than yesterday and I didn’t really notice it in the race, only afterwards. I have some time to recover before Korea and we were pretty strong there last year, so let’s see what we can do next time out.”
Romain Grosjean DNF, E21-04: “The race was going pretty well and I think a second or third place finish was a realistic prospect. We had a good strategy pitting under the safety car and we should have finished well, but unfortunately today my engine had other ideas. We lost air pressure and the team tried to fix the problem by topping it up with an additional pit stop, but that didn’t work so we had to retire which is never what you want to happen.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Once more Kimi drove an exceptionally strong race today – even without considering his back pain – whilst the team did an amazing job with the strategy for both drivers. Were it not for Romain’s engine problems we should have had both cars home in third and fourth. It’s unfortunate that Romain had the problem with the pneumatic system of his engine as he showed strong pace in the race after putting in superb performances on both Friday and Saturday. This level of downforce suits our car and that’s the level we’re running for the remaining tracks this season; we will fight for podiums for the rest of the year I’m sure.”
The next round of the competition sees the team travel to Korea, for the Korean GP on 6th October 2013.